I want to pay tribute to wonderful people I have known, the wonderful country in which I live, the communities in which I have lived, the churches who have claimed me as their own, the God who sends shivers down my back when I really give him a portion of my time—well, maybe not shivers but tears flow easily in some of those most priceless times.
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In order to understand the circumstances that led me to the event I am about to tell you, you should read the page called, “Why Me, Lord.” It can be found at my last post, Why Me If you read that, you will see that there was little chance of me surviving on that Saturday evening except for the Lord’s intervention. Take notice of the fact that the attack happened about 4:30 or 5:00 and I did not get to the operating room until 11:30. I believe that was in answer to prayer. Notice that I gave no information about what was happening to me while I was in surgery. Now is the time I will try to give some details—most of which I have told few people, some I have told no one. Some scenes agree with others who tell of near-death experience. Some do not. I do not recall any chronological order to these scenes.
There was a tunnel; however, I had gone through a tunnel on the way up the mountain, so it is possible that scene could have been planted in my head. It also could have other significance.
At the entrance to the tunnel was a mountain of rocky cliffs. A hand like Jesus’ hand was reaching down.
There was a sense that I was being dragged back and forth horizontally through a hoop. I felt like a balloon pulled back and forth through the hoop. ** I believe that was caused by my doctors working at keeping me alive. Sort of like they were about to lose me, then they would bring me back. I was greatly troubled over that for many days.
I could hear someone speaking a foreign language. I identified with it being spoken by a missionary. At this point I believe, some one was interceding for me. Either a foreign language speaker whom I probably do not know but through whom the Holy Spirit was working. Or, maybe more likely an English speaker who was praying for me in another language such as that referred to as a “gift of the Spirit.” I do have family and friends who would allow the Holy Spirit to direct them in this way.
I believed that I heard Carl, my son, consoling members of my family by saying that they must remember that I had reached my goal by going to heaven. This was happening in a different room from where I was. Carl says he does not remember doing this although he was there praying with family. So I can’t explain why it seemed to me that he was consoling them as if I had died. Maybe to comfort my mind about my family?
I did see people I recognized who have already passed into heaven. I saw them in black and white as silhouettes would appear behind a screen; it was like they were around the corner behind a partial wall in an adjoining room. I don’t remember who they were but at that time I recognized all except a young girl who I was guess was about 12 or 13 years old. The fact that I did not recognize her makes me believe even more that this was an actual occurrence. I can understand why I might place certain people in heaven waiting for me, but I cannot believe I would have imagined a young girl whom I did not know.
There were two figures in the room with me which I recognized as angels. They were vastly different. One was the figure of a man dressed in bronze and gold somewhat like a Roman soldier, but he wore a helmet that looked like an English policeman would wear. I can’t visualize the helmet now; that’s as close as I can come to describing it. He was standing in the right-hand corner of the operating room at the wall behind me. The other figure was at the wall directly behind my head; it was a dull light similar to a solar light that might be in a garden. I recognized it as another angel. Doesn’t make sense, does it? If I had been making this up, hallucinating, dreaming, or whatever, wouldn’t you think I would have seen two angels that were similar? I believe one of those angels was there to take me to heaven if I died; I think the other might have been more of a protecting angel. I don’t know.
Now for another image. There was a man in a brown business suit who walked through the room. Of all these images that one seems the strangest. It would be easy to say I believe he was a third angel, but that wouldn’t be true. Who was he and why was he there?
There were some other images but I think they happened after I was moved into a room. I was convinced at one point that a nurse was trying to poison me—some nurse probably trying to get me to take medicine. I saw faces as though I was looking through a book, a picture on each page. One page had two faces on it. I believe those were nurses who were assigned to me after I was out of surgery.
I cannot claim this experience was peaceful; however, I could not say it was fearful ether. There were comforting moments or images but I was greatly conflicted by the pulling back and forth through the loop.** It seemed like if I couldn’t safely stay on the first side, I wouldn’t be “me” anymore. That probably doesn’t make sense. At this time I marvel that for those many hours I had enough oxygen to my brain to come out still being “me.” Maybe that conflict came about by things I could hear the doctors say. Perhaps I knew they were have a difficult time keeping me here.
I’m glad I did not die. After the intense pain at the moment of the attack, I felt no pain and had complete peace. Folks were praying all around me. I believe that is the reason I am alive and still have a functioning brain! But if I had died, I don’t believe death itself would have been painful or fearful. ———-
DIAGNOSIS FROM MEDICAL RECORDS Dr. Dimitri Kaufman (lung doctor) has written “Pulmonary edema, due to acute aortic dissection.” Dr. Walker, the heart surgeon, did say it was a near impossibility that I made it to the hospital alive and twice that that I got out of the operation alive.* His diagnosis was “Type 1 aortic valvular dissection, severe aortic valvular insufficiency, and acute heart failure.”
Notes added today, August 19, 2019. *The doctor also added that it was exceptional that I did not have infection. That seems to be the reason they kept me in ICU for so long, to be sure that would not happen.
**Comment about the “balloon” being pulled through the hoop. At this point I believe that signifies even more that it was my spirit that was struggling for life as opposed to being a fleshly body being pulled back and forth. Something to think about. I’d be glad for your thoughts.
“Why Me, Lord, what have I ever done to deserve even one, of these blessings from you.” (Kris Kristofferson) I find in Psalms 91:14 “Because she loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue her. I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name.” And Psalms 18:19 “The Lord rescued me because he delighted in me.” Oh, but I’m getting ahead of my story. So we’ll go back to the facts – As Sergeant Friday says: “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.”
On June 28, 2013, I went with Tom, Karen, and Carl for a family reunion at my cousin Sherol’s in Grandby, CO. We stopped at John’s in Colorado City that night. I walked the blocks nearby on Friday morning. Got extremely winded on a slight incline. Commented that the altitude was getting to me. We went on to Grandby and checked into a motel. Went to Sherol’s and joined the group to go out to eat. No problems.
On Friday morning I walked from our room to Carl’s room about six doors down from us. Had to sit down to rest on the way back; had a queer kind of pain in my back as I sat there. Again, I reported to Karen that the altitude was bothering me. At Sherol’s, I went in to take a nap. Got up a few minutes and told Sherol I was going back to sleep. I asked her not to tell anyone I was sleeping again; I didn’t want to be known as a party pooper. I got up, ate, and visited around some. I don’t know what time I sat down to talk to Shelly, but I talked only a few minutes when I had a vicious pain all through my chest and back.
I guess I cried out in pain. Carl said, “Mom, are you all right?” I heard Sherol calling 911 and giving directions to her house. EMT arrived. Precious, loving young people! The one who seemed to be the leader asked me if I wanted them to do everything they could to keep me alive – even CPR. I told him yes. I remember him giving me nitroglycerine; after a bit he gave me another one. I faintly remember being in a large room and a doctor telling me that he had sent for Life Flight and I was going to be sent to Denver. I remember objecting a bit. Then it was lights out for me. Karen said I asked if I had to go; the doctor responded “Yes, Ms Schoolteacher, Ma’am. Y-E-S.” I said, “What if I don’t?” He muttered mostly under his breath, “Then it’s Kerput.”
Karen told me that almost everyone in my family hit the floor in prayer almost as soon as I cried out. She especially mentioned Mary Ann and Vonnell. For that I believe I lived the intervening hours to the Denver operating room. I don’t know who notified Facebook and my church friends, but I do know there were many praying for me for the next several days.
I am so thankful. I am amazed at the number of people who cared. I have a new appreciation for EMT, doctors, Flight team for their decisions to do everything in their power to keep life in me. I’m afraid I had bought into young people not appreciating their elders!
So I arrived in the operating room. This is hear-say according to what the doctor told my sisters. The doctor said they did not have time to do tests beforehand so they went in “blind” to make repairs. The operation lasted 14 hours but the doctor said they got finished sooner than he had expected and he was confident that my heart was repaired and would be no more problem. But the danger of infection was great. And there was need for close watch on me to avoid pneumonia.
Apparently there was damage caused to the lungs, somehow causing much water in my body; I don’t know what I’m talking about in all this, but I have a “catalog” of hospital records to show something like that. Dr. Dimitri Kaufman (lung doctor) has written “Pulmonary edema, due to acute aortic dissection.” Dr. Walker, the heart surgeon, did say it was a near impossibility that I made it to the hospital alive and twice that that I got out of the operation alive. His diagnosis was “Type 1 aortic valvular dissection, severe aortic valvular insufficiency, and acute heart failure.”
My next move into reality was hearing someone ask me if I knew where I was. I responded correctly. Then she asked who the president was; again I responded correctly. Then she asked if I knew the season. I tried so hard to be right but I wasn’t; I said, “I think it’s winter.” She said, “No, don’t you remember – summer, Fourth of July is coming up.” I asked the day; she said it was Tuesday. I guess I flunked the test, because they must have sedated me again. Next thing I am being asked the same simple questions. I laughed at the easy questions. She said, “Well, we need to know what you know.” I said, “I know everything. Well, not everything – but everything I knew before.” I guess they liked that answer because it was “get you well and moving” time!
I made great progress; however, I was in ICU 13 days. I was placed with my doors open to the nurses’ station. Some of my nurses had been present during the operation. They were lovely about that. One told me that they had called for Dr. Walker as soon as Life Flight went out. She spoke of how fortunate I was that he was available. On my walks around the hall, many would comment about my progress. I could tell I was a “plum” to those folks. They knew a lot that I did not know! I think they were proud of keeping me alive. Anyway, after 13 days there I went to another floor to ICU Step-down. Main difference, my room was in a corner down the hall (a sure sign of getting well), and there I could take a bath.
I was discharged from there on Monday, July 15, and got home the next day. I came home with an oxygen tank, but didn’t have to keep it long. The doctors in Denver expected my doctors here to put me in Rehab but they (primary and cardiac) gave me hardly the time of day except to say it looked like I was lucky to be alive. I didn’t even rate a real check with the cardiac doctor; I saw his PA who made an appointment for October 23. Hopefully that shows how well I’m doing not how poorly the doctors are doing.
I didn’t even pick up a Bible in Denver, but when I got home I tried to re-establish a Bible reading routine, but for nearly two weeks I couldn’t get past Ps 91 “he rescued me because I love him, He protected me because I know his name.” I’m glad. I do love him and know his name – Jehovah-rophe, God my healer. But I still don’t know Why Me, Lord, and not others who love him and whom he loves.
So I’m back where I started, Why Me, Lord, what have I ever done, to deserve this blessing from you?
It took me a long time, about two years, before I blogged the post above. I wrote it, journal type thing, but I could not make it public. It took even longer to write about the things I saw, heard, felt while I was on that operating table. How near death was I? I will do my best to tell you tomorrow, by re-posting a blog called, “I’m Glad I Did Not Die.”
More of my healing story. I left off at being on the Potter’s Wheel. God had so graciously proven to me that just because I chose to go a doctor did not mean he was not STILL MY HEALER. In fact he set me up for another miracle healing to prove it. (last post)
In spite of everything I had nagging doubts about whether I had “snubbed” Him by making the choice for the surgery – by settling for less than the best. But that didn’t last long. That healing was in June. The end of June, I went to Colorado to a family reunion. That was when he removed all doubt about whether or not to choose the medical route.
In my Things I’ve Found Out.. (remember I am addressing God) I began with this paragraph:
Many times you heal me almost immediately. At least within minutes. I most often, however, have to really affirm my faith in you, knowing I can put up with some pain to achieve the gain I get in trusting you. I think of the time something was hurting me. I was standing at the mirror fixing my face. I sensed you asking me if the pain was too much to bear. I said it was not; that I have your promise that nothing will come to me that is too much to bear. That has been one of the issues on which I place my trust in you. You always have come to my aid before it was too much. I do not believe you get joy out of allowing the pain to be great, but that principle has grown my faith. I have with tongue in cheek, said if you want me to be in a hospital, you can make me unconscious; then someone else can make the decision to send me. I really don’t think that will happen.
THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HE DID!
So, Dear Readers, that brings me up to the “near death” experience, about which I have written in “Why Me, Lord?” I will re-post it tomorrow. It was two years before I could blog about this experience. It took even longer for me to blog about what happened to me as I lay on that operating table, what I saw, heard, …. and how close I believe I was to heaven. It was too intense; too personal, I had to have time to internalize it before I could put it out to the public with the doubters, naysayers, and such. I can’t find where I blogged it. But I’m looking; when I find it I will re-post; bloggers change.
Once the hernia crises had passed and I was no longer “laying in wait” for my Jesus Healer, I felt more at ease and probably became open for the “fiery darts” from the devil.
I made an appointment with the cardiologist to deal with the heart issue but on appointment day their office was closed because of flooding. I didn’t make another appointment. I recognized that the Lord had kept me through heart problems up to then, so why bother. (Reference incident recorded in More Healings) It was amazing that with my family’s history of heart attacks and my history of being overweight, I didn’t even have high blood pressure! So I relaxed and I didn’t pray about it much either.
So I went to sleep in Zion (a bit of Christianize speech meaning I pretty much quite praying about it because it didn’t hurt). One does not have to be long in that condition before spiritual issues began to develop. Questions. Oh, God, did I let you down? Oh, Lord, will I ever have such bonding with you as I had when I hurt and you were my only refuge? Oh, Lord, was I wrong, did I misread you? Should I have toughed it out a few more days?
God was patient and faithful in amazing ways even in my storm. The scripture about “his completing the work he had started with me” was my foundation. In June of that year (four months after the surgery) I had another health issue – I’m not going into the details, too embarrassing (clue, hemorrhoids). Never an issue before. Sunday morning pray time, I was standing praying my myself. I was instantly healed. It was just as if he said to me, “I am still your healer.” (Oh, God, you are so surprisingly wonderful! I cry with joy while writing this six years later.) Yes, He was still my healer! Another thing, I was pleased that it was a healing I didn’t even want to talk about because of the subject. I told my sister; I don’t remember telling anybody else. That felt good – another secret with Jesus. (Who ever stood up in a testimony service and said, “Praise God, he healed my hemorrhoids? :D)
So now I’ve told the whole world. Only because I am convinced that it is a story that God wants known by someone out there. I say “Don’t think you ever get out of the shelter of his love! It might take a while for him to keep you on the potter’s wheel (more Christianize), but he is making something beautiful out of you!”
But I was still on the potter’s wheel!
More to come later.
Jack of all Trades, handyman, tinker
Quite an extraordinary thinker
The kids were excited and ready to play
They pouted when told to wait ‘til next day
Dad is going to need some time
To make it strong and sturdy and safe to climb.
It cost quite a bit, but he could save a dollar –
But the thing fell down and the kids did holler
The got skinned shins and Dad got a bruise
So it looks like they all are going to lose.
Dad could do it if he had some luck
But this DIY awaits the trash truck!
PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields
Thanks to Rochelle for Friday Fictioneer Challenge – 100 words Photo Prompt
Continuing My Story of Healing. From sometime about 1960 when Roger was born to 2012, God healed me in amazing ways. I had a doctor only on paper for work purposes, insurance, etc. Never went to one. About 2010 or something like that a growth began in my stomach area. It continued growing, I ignored it as long as I could. My sister, Verna, first confronted me. I sought out friends to pray for me when I finally had to confess to having a problem. The “tumor” continued growing. My family and friends were very concerned but I turned a deaf ear to them. So I entered a period of sickness in 2012, sure that God would heal me if I just continued to place my trust in him and not seek medical help. The “tumor” did not hurt and I was not sick.
In April I had gone on a “field trip” with other seniors at my church. We ate at a Mexican Restaurant. I could not get through my meal. Went to the restroom and vomited. We were in a van. The driver had to stop a couple of times for me to get out and vomit. At least one of those times we were in a very nice neighborhood and I was polluting their street in a unsightly manner. I was humiliated beyond belief. My friends were kind; they lovingly put up with the situation. I think someone finally found me a Walmart bag or something that helped a bit. I’ve forgotten some details.
For seven months after that I was violently ill. Almost every day I would get sick and be in pain beginning mid afternoon until I could finally get relief by vomiting, generally about midnight to two o’clock am. My mornings were normal without pain. I lost about seventy pounds in those seven months dropping from over 200 pounds to 139. Very few supported my determination to not see a doctor. Sammy urged me to go, but honored my decision.
I did seek God for an answer, but the only scripture that stuck in my mind was “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalms 27:14 along with the feeling that I would bring honor to God’s name if I could wait it out.
In November I gave in and told Sammy to make an appointment with the doctor. When I did it seemed as though the “Wait on the Lord…” scripture faded and was replaced with words from Philippians 1:6 “I will fulfill what I have begun in you..” I believe this is somewhat out of context but it is still what came to me and helped me cope with my “crash” in consenting to go to the doctor.
The “tumor” was a hernia. My age was an issue so I had to jump through loops to get an operation. In that process, I was informed of heart issues. The surgery successfully removed the cause of my sickness.
Enough for today. I will be back to tell about the “side effects” of my decision to go to the doctor. Questions, doubts, and God’s faithful love and patience with me.
Julie’s history lesson yesterday (HERE) put me on a short search of my old readers to see if the Story of Betsy Ross was in one. I seemed to remember one from sometime in my childhood. I didn’t find one but I did find something about The Flag in all of them. This one was/is sort of special.
THE FLAG *
Here comes The Flag!
Who dares to drag
Or trail it?
Give it hurrahs—
Three for the stars
Three for the bars.
Uncover your head to it!
The soldiers who tread to it
Shout at the sight of it
The justice and right of it,
The unsullied white of it,
The blue and red of it,
The tyranny’s dread of it!
Here comes The Flag!
Valley and crag
Shall hear it.
Fathers shall bless it;
Children caress it,
All shall maintain it;
No one shall stain it.
Cheers for the sailors that fought on the
wave for it!
Tears for the men that went down to the
grave for it!
Here comes The Flag.
by Arthur Macy, Poetry Pubic Domain, The Elson Readers, Book 6, 1930
Editors note in the reader: Arthur Macy (1842-1904) was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts. He served in the Civil War, was wounded in Gettysburg three times, and was there taken prisoner. As a soldier he learned what it means to march with the flag. It is not surprising, therefore, that his poem, “The Flag,” is full of stirring patriotism.
Much ado these days about the necessity and use of cars. I vote big time in favor of having one. Perhaps the day will come when I have to turn in my license because I have aged out.
Speaking of age reminds me of an incident that happened one time when I had to stop to fill my car with gas and satisfy my appetite with a package of peanut butter/cheese crackers.
I was pulling up to the gas pump when I noticed a car with a license tag from Baca County, CO – home of my birth. I promptly started a conversation with an older lady who was “gassing-up” that car. She appeared to be old for driving a car – especially to be driving it 350 miles from Baca County. Probably not a lot older than I am now – but a lot older than I was then.
You all know “family” is important to me so we talked about our families back in Baca Coumty. Somehow I got into telling her about my daddy’s birth – he weighed 2 pounds at birth, born at home with a midwife’s help. Oh, yes, she said. She remembered that. In fact she said she was the midwife that helped bring him into this world. I was excited and believed what she said. We hugged, wished each other all the good, and called out our “Good-byes.”
Repeating this story to my siblings, they pointed out the near impossibility of that having been the truth. Although it seemed reasonable that she could have been alive at that time, being old enough to have been a midwife was highly unlikely.
At this time in my life after having lived with and among older people, I have concluded she did not intentionally lie to me, she told me what she believed happened.
My word to younger people is to be patient when your elders drift away from reality. The brain is a marvelous thing, but it does get sick sometimes. Sometimes what it believes, is an “innocent” untruth.
Sunday Writing Prompt “5 by 5”
Include the answers to these questions in a story or poem
1. An item you just can’t live without
2. Your favorite snack
3. A bit of wisdom for the youths of today
4. A coincidence that unites two people
5. Your favorite word